Peter King’s Neo-HUAC: It’s About the Method, Not the Subject

The face of the Republican Party.

Bill Bennett and the National Review rush to the defense of embattled congressman Peter King (R-NY), whose circus-show hearings, held for no other reason than to spotlight the problem of homegrown terrorism, began yesterday (albeit with some helpful pushback):

If one community is engaging in terrorism “at a greater rate” than the rest of the community; and if we are at war with or on the defensive against such terrorism; and if the secretary of homeland security states, The terrorist threat facing our country “may be at its most heightened state” since 9/11; and if the attorney general can say that “homegrown terror” is “one of the things that keeps me up at night,” why should there not be 10 hearings a year?

This defense muddles the point. We aren’t against investigating homegrown terrorism. We’re against holding hearings to do it. Anyone who’s staffed a politician, or even, Hell, thought about the issue for just a second, knows there are three reasons you hold hearings. First, to solicit useful input as you design a legislative solution to a particular problem. Second, to sell the completed bill to your constituents. And third, for theater. Congressman King’s hearings are distinctly described by the last point, only.

Control of homegrown terrorism is not a proper issue for Congress to legislate. Neither Mr. King nor his committee expect a bill, or a study, to come out of the hearings. This is a subject that DHS, in cooperation with police departments across the country, can, and does handle in its executive capacity. And when they do, unlike our honorable members opposite, we don’t play the victim. Because the police’s job is to police, and Congress’ job is to legislate. Not to shine a light on a discrete minority, and say, “you did this.

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5 comments

  1. Yeah, this is bad. But is it worse then other so-called oversight hearings? Politicians on both sides spend time running around stalking the “sky is falling” horse all the time. Am I happy that Rep. King did it? NO. Does it really help anything in terms of homeland security? No. but is it out of the ordinary for Congress these days? Not really.

  2. I got to disagree that the hearings are inappropriate in themselves – I don’t think it’s a problem that Congress should hold hearings about anything they want to, that’s an important part of their powers.

    The specific problems with these hearings are twofold: The approach, and the chairman.

    Re: the approach, you’d think that a hearing would perhaps invite some people who actually know something about the subject, some “experts” who can provide evidence-based opinions. I thought Sheriff Baca’s testimony was excellent, and almost salvaged the entire event in itself, but the rest was weak. Where’s someone like, I don’t know, David Schanzer or Reza Aslan?

    And then there’s Mr King. Even aside from his habit of making bombastic statements in the vein of “85% of American mosques are radicalized”, without, of course, deigning to provide one shred of statistical evidence for it, surely a person who is a well-known supporter for an actual, bona-fide terrorist organization responsible for several thousands of deaths ought to be the very last person to chair hearings on the threat of terrorism?

  3. Excluding CAIR while bashing them, too. Classy.

  4. Montana · ·

    Why doesn’t this Peter T. King investigate the “Home Grown” radicalization of Irish Americans, who support the tradition wing of the IRA (Irish Republican Army), or Noraid (The Irish Northern Aid Committee), and being recruited by “Enemy Overseas” or worse “Enemy Overseas” the “Catholic Church ”, where they radicalize the priests into raping our young American boys, what about that you hypocrite scumbag.

    Peter King is a hypocrite, he supported the terrorist group IRA, who killed innocent British people, but hey I guess that was OK, right? Killing innocent people is OK, as long as they are not born is the United States, yup that sounds about right. I guess Jesus Christ would give all you extra points for that, NOT!

    No, there are no dancing in the street when Catholics hear about a pedophile priest, but there has been a concerted effort to Deny, Deflect, Defend this “Enemy Overseas” the “Catholic Church ”, I don’t even think you could deny that fact. What would Jesus Christ, say about this so called Church, I have a few thoughts myself.

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/full-episodes/thu-march-10-2011-trey-parker—matt-stone

    47 seconds in;
    http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/377120/march-10-2011/peter-king-understands-violent-radicalism

  5. @Montana: The Catholic Church, based an ocean away in Vatican City, has followers in the US who try to influence policy which effect Americans outside of their congregations. The Catholic Church hierarchy tries to shield the abusing priests from being prosecuted in the US legal system. If King gave the same energy to those activities, he would risk offending his constituents.

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